Friday, July 20, 2018

1981 Topps Batting Leaders

The front: A couple of spring training batting poses. Brett is on the road in the Royals’ powder blues, while Buckner is at the Cubs’ home facility in Mesa, AZ.
 
The back: 1980 was the year George Brett electrified the nation by flirting with .400 most of the summer, eventually cooling off at the end of the year to hit .390. Bill Buckner would have ranked just eighth in the American League, barely ahead of Dave Stapleton, probably the most surprising name on either list.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Blog-Within-a-Blog: 1981 Topps

A while back Night Owl posted about how no one has done a 1981 Topps blog, the only year from the mid-60s to mid-80s that does not have a blog. I've been looking for something new to do on this blog so I decided to take it on (hopefully that encourages him to do a 1993 Upper Deck blog when he is done with 1985 Topps!).

The 1993 Studio series was fun but didn't really seem to resonate with readers, so I was looking to shift gears. A few weeks ago I accidentally posted the same card twice within a week and nobody noticed. That's when I knew I had to do something different.

For each card I will comment on the front and the back. For player cards I will also discuss the playing career as well as something about them beyond their playing career. I will also look at what I cards I have for that player, and highlight at least one card I don't have that I would like to trade for. All posts will be tagged so people can find the 1981 Topps posts.

I have the full set (as well as the traded set) but rather than take new pictures of every card, I will use the scans from the fantastic Trading Card Data Base.

Hopefully you will enjoy this journey through the 1981 Topps set!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

1993 Studio Craig Shipley

Hobby is weight lifting: Shipley and Padres teammate Ken Caminiti were early users of creatine.

Favorite sports announcer is Mel Allen: As an Australian, Shipley may have been familiar with Allen from This Week in Baseball, but he also may have chosen Allen as both were alumni of the University of Alabama.

Favorite player as a kid was Pete Rose: Rose presumably had great international appeal.

Might have been a coach if he hadn’t been an athlete: Shipley coached in Australia during and after his career.

Pet peeve is Florida drivers: Spring training must have been a frustrating time for Shipley.

Where he is now: Special Assistant to the General Manager for the Diamondbacks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

1993 Studio Harold Reynolds

Hobbies are reading, guest speaking and watching movies: You’ve sure got a great hobby if you get paid $10-20,000 each time you do it, as is Reynolds’s fee for a guest speaking appearance.
 
Favorite sports announcer is Howard Cosell: Reynolds would later follow in Cosell’s footsteps as a World Series announcer.
 
Favorite player as a kid was Garry Templeton: Templeton was a star shortstop when Reynolds was in high school and college.
 
Most prized possession is his bible: During his playing career Reynolds travelled around the world speaking about baseball and the gospel.
 
Might have been a history teacher if he hadn’t been an athlete: Reynolds did not go into teaching after his playing career.
 
Where he is now: An analyst for the MLB Network.

Monday, July 16, 2018

1993 Studio Howard Johnson

Hobby is golf: Yet another golfing baseball player.
 
Favorite sports announcer is Harry Kalas: Johnson grew up in Florida and never played for the Phillies; not sure how Kalas became his favorite.
 
Favorite player as a kid was Reggie Jackson: Not having a big league team nearby, a charismatic slugger like Reggie makes sense.
 
Might have been an astronaut if he hadn’t been an athlete: This seems like one of the bigger stretch answers to this question.
 
Where he is now: A minor league manager in the Rangers organization.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

1993 Studio Benito Santiago

Hobby is cars: Santiago has had some issues with his cars, getting injured crashing his Ferrari in 1998, and arrested for smoking marijuana in his Mercedes in 2012.

Favorite sports announcer is Chris Berman: Berman called him Benito “Il Duce” Santiago.

Favorite player as a kid was Johnny Bench: Great role model for a young player.

Might have been a race car driver if he hadn’t been a baseball player: He certainly liked expensive cars. Don’t know if that would have translated to actually racing them successfully.

Pet peeve is taxes: While Santiago has had various legal troubles he seems to have at least always paid his taxes.

Where he is now: He is involved in various community activities in San Francisco and Puerto Rico.

Another trade with The Collector

I came across The Collector only a couple of months ago (well into his Sports Card Tour) and this is already the second trade I've swung with him. The second of many, I think. Here are some highlights from what he sent me:

I have every Topps set completed from 1978 to 2008, with the exception of 1998. With these two down I still need 27 more cards from this set.
 Some really nice 1977 TCMA Renata Galasso cards. Really nice vintage.
 Some modern Yankee stars. I didn't know they were still doing Sports Illustrated for Kids cards.
 Really nice triple swatch card for Carlos Beltran, #'d 25/25. I don't remember seeing a card with home and away uniforms on it before.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Trade with All Trade Bait, All the Time

Got a big box of cards, mostly 2016-2018, from All Trade Bait All the Time. Mostly Gypsy Queen and Heritage. Some other oddballs too. Some highlights:

My first 2018 Gypsy Queens came in this trade.
 Also lots more 2018 Heritage. I have dozens of 2018 cards now, plus a complete Opening Day set, but not one card yet from the flagship set. Weird.
 A couple of packs of Babe Ruth cards.
 I don't collect toys so these are up for trade if anyone wants them. The Padres car is actually from Upper Deck. The two little guys are a Phillie and a Met.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

1993 Studio Edgar Martinez

Hobbies are computers, reading and movies: A rarity – three hobbies, and they are all indoors.
 
Favorite sports announcer is Chris Berman: Martinez did not get a nickname from Berman.
 
Favorite player as a kid was Roberto Clemente: Here is an interview with Martinez discussing his memories of Clemente.
 
Pet peeve is lying: Pretty common pet peeve.
 
Where he is now: Hitting coach for the Mariners.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

1993 Studio Carlos Martinez

Hobby is music: Presumably listening to music, though perhaps he played as well.
 
Favorite sports announcer is Dick Vitale: He must have liked college basketball.
 
Favorite players as a kid were Roberto Clemente and Tony Armas: Martinez was Venezuelan, and Armas was one of the first Venezuelan stars in the major leagues. Clemente of course was a hero to ballplayers across Latin America.
 
Might have been a doctor if he hadn’t been an athlete: Martinez did not go into medicine after his playing career.
 
Pet peeve is politics: Seems like everyone’s pet peeve these days.
 
Post-playing career: Martinez died at the age of 40 in 2006, after a long battle with cancer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

1993 Studio Robby Thompson

Hobbies are fishing, tennis, golf and water sports: Guy likes being outdoors.

Favorite sports announcer is Chris Berman: Thompson did not get a nickname from Berman.

Favorite player as a kid was Pete Rose: In high school Thompson grew his hair shaggy in emulation of Rose.

Might have been an educator if he hadn’t been an athlete: Thompson did not go into education after his baseball career.

Pet peeve is slow traffic in the fast lane: Lots of lead-footed drivers in this set.

Where he is now: As of 2016 he was a Special Assistant to the Indians GM. Not clear if he is still in the role.